Earlier this May, Dr. Daniel Loveless led a team of 13 undergraduate and graduate students as they successfully launched and retrieved a high altitude balloon that peaked at an altitude of approximately 108,000 feet. The class, made up of Electrical and Computer Engineering majors, spent their spring semester designing, developing, testing, and reporting for a spacecraft subsystem, all in preparation for this pivotal moment.
“The primary objective was to launch a balloon payload to approximately 100,000 ft with communications and tracking systems for ground-tracking from launch to landing. To this end, the launch was a success,” Loveless said.
The balloon’s 4.5 hour journey began in Chickamauga, GA. The craft travelled 150 miles before landing in Griffin, GA
As the team worked throughout the semester, they relied heavily on research and technical literature to create their designs.
“The students learned how to navigate through highly technical concepts, critique the value of technical literature, and implement designs based on published findings,” Loveless explained.
In addition to their enhanced research skills, the students gained invaluable experience easily transferable to the workplace.
“Teamwork was a BIG deal. However, the students also learned about real, and extreme design constraints, beyond the typical ideal analysis typically covered in courses. For example, designing a structural sound system to handle the 100mph wind speeds encountered, and reliable electronics to operate at -50C. These are skills highly valued in the workplace and I think are invaluable lessons learned (through success and failures of designs),” added Loveless.
Student involved in this project included: